Should Richardson be lowered in ranks? 

August, 9, 2012
8/09/12
11:49
AM ET
It's a bit too convenient to presume Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson is simply no longer worthy of a top-30 selection in fantasy football drafts because he has a pending arthroscopic knee surgery this week. Look at the other running backs going in the third round, from Adrian Peterson to Jamaal Charles to "picture of durability" Darren McFadden, and there are issues everywhere. Why should Richardson be excluded from the club?

Wednesday's news about our top-ranked rookie running back shouldn't upend anyone's draft rankings, or cause those who have invested in Richardson, especially in dynasty formats, to panic. Frankly, I expect most running backs to miss games anyway, and, as of now, Richardson and the Browns seem, at least publicly, mighty confident that he'll be available for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Perhaps that's wishful thinking, but if I'm drafting Peterson or Charles, for example, I'm not expecting a huge early workload anyway. Richardson is a rookie, likely to see his touches increase as the season goes on. These are investments for three and, hopefully, if you reach the fantasy playoffs, four months, so this doesn't feel like a big deal to me.

[+] EnlargeTrent Richardson
AP Photo/Michael ConroyTrent Richardson has had the first "setback" of his NFL career.
Richardson brought questions about his knee into this season in the first place, one of several reasons I thought exalting him to top-10 running back status seemed a bit premature. That upside is there, and remains so. I rank him 15th at running back, and I'm sticking to it for now. The Alabama product suffered a torn meniscus in the same left knee back in the BCS Championship Game and needed surgery in February. Doctors claim this situation is not related, and, because I'm not a doctor, I must trust them. Do we all have "hang nail" particles of loose cartilage in our knees? I don't think I want to know.